01-31-2019 Tri-City Area History Page

About my column Sometimes people ask me about the picture at the head of my column. They know the Paw Paw River… but the bridge is so strange. Well, it is the old iron bridge, no longer there. The picture is an “anachronism.” According to my Webster’s, this is a misplacing of persons, events, objects, or customs in regard to each other. In other words, the picture never took place the way you see it. The old iron bridge out north of Hartford is the one I remember from my childhood. The dog, Toby, and I were sitting on the floor in our living room, and Marion took our picture. Then I superimposed them. This is a common practice now… in this day of computers. In fact, we cannot believe much we see or read on the internet. I hope what I write is an exception, because I work in a “virtual” office. In other words, I am not typing this at the Tri-City Record. I work from our living room… or wherever we happen to be. And I send my column to Editor Karl. I can also scan and send pictures to be used with the column, if I wish to. And when Karl and I shook hands in an oral contract for me to write this column… oh, so many years ago… I typed every one, sent it in, or took it to the office, and then Bonnie Bannen, or one of the other girls retyped it into the paper. That seems so long ago, and so cumbersome. In 1999 I bought my first computer. Becky’s Jim helped me pick it out. I was just smart enough to stay in the background and keep my mouth shut! Then we set it up on my desk, and he showed me its intricacies. In the first two days I made marvelous strides… I learned to turn it on and off! But after I got on the internet, I started emailing my copy in to Editor Karl. Now I am still doing it… and still using the same picture of Toby and me sitting by the old river bridge out north of Hartford. The picture really exemplifies what my column is about. Karl wanted me to write with a mostly Hartford slant, because The Record serves the communities of Coloma, Watervliet, and Hartford. He had Dorothy Stark Cannell to cover Coloma with her “Shingle Diggin’s” column, until her unfortunate decline in health. He and Annie handled much of the Watervliet news… and I was to do Hartford. The Paw Paw River stitches all of our communities together. In the picture, there we sit, contemplating infinity, or whatever we are contemplating. The dog is perfectly content… she is with me, there are exotic smells to sniff, and God’s in his Heaven… all’s right with the world. It is an ideal (and an idealized) situation. And, Dear Readers, that is sort of how I think of our storybook towns along the river. Perhaps I do treat the past as if it were burnished with a golden haze. For some reason I always remembered (and stored away) scenes of days gone by and the stories I heard. When I was small, I went everywhere with my dad. I kept quiet (as little kids were supposed to in those days) and soaked it all in. Whenever Dad headed out to the car, I dropped whatever I was doing and scrambled to get on those wheels. He was the only florist in Hartford, and he patronized our local businesses… because they patronized our greenhouses. I can remember that he bought gas, and had service work done, at every garage and gas station in turn. Later on when I was a gas pump jockey for Leonard Peirce at his big station on Hartford’s west side, he said, “For your car’s long life, you should pick a good place… then always use the same kind of oil when you have it changed.” He should have known… Leonard was one of the best mechanics Hartford ever saw. With my dad I went to Smith’s Lumber Yard… right where it is now. I sat in the little front office with him while he talked with Johnny Smith, and his dad, Ed Smith, who started the lumber yard and the stacks of boards out back, with new lumber smell. And also Ed Manning’s lumber yard out north of town just across the railroad tracks. And Markellie’s coal and feed business just south of those same tracks. Or perhaps The Gleaner Store and Olds Grocery on the south side of Main Street. My dad loved ‘rat trap cheese,’ which they kept under a huge glass bell on the counter. The grocer sliced off a sample for Dad to try, and he gave me some of it. There was also Salnave’s meat market on toward the east. My dad ordered a pound and a half of round steak and a half pound of pork, ground together so my mom could make one of her marvelous meat loaves. One day, grizzled old Ollie Salnave handed me a raw hot dog, saying, “Here, kid, try this!” I looked at my dad as I held the wiener, and he nodded OK. So I ate it right there… the only raw hot dog in my whole life! Oliver Salnave had a halo of white hair and a ruddy complexion… brought on, I believe, by a lifetime of bouts with old John Barleycorn. One Saturday night (when everyone came into town), as I was walking by, a bunch of guys were betting Ollie that he could not stand on his head on the sidewalk. Well, he did it… right in front of the store! Well… a stroll down memory lane, occasioned by thinking on the picture at the top of this column. So all of that was going on back in the day, and much more! I have examined but a few golden threads in the tapestry of our lives along the Paw Paw River in those storybook towns!

Mixing concrete for old U.S.12 west of Coloma, 1919 Fred A. Carter and his son, Clinton F. Carter, are among work crew. North Berrien Historical Museum is always interested in photos, stories or information sharing. The museum can be contacted at 269-468-3330 or by email to info@northberrienhistory.org. From the photo collection at the North Berrien Historical Museum 300 Coloma Avenue, Coloma

Watervliet District Library News Adult Reading Program Three prize levels; 5 books per level. First place: Fuzzy Socks; 2nd: Mug & Cocoa; 3rd: Eye Mask; Grand Prize: $50 Gift Card to Oasis Hot Tubs. Program ends Feb. 23. Black History Month movie Monday, Feb. 4, 6 p.m.

Massage Day Thurs., Feb. 7, 2 – 4 p.m. Stop in for a quick chair massage, courtesy of Massage Therapist Kim Derek. Book a Social Work Intern Thanks to an LSTA grant through the Niles Library, Watervliet Library will have a shared intern on Tuesdays from 1 to 4 p.m. Need help with on-line applications, unemployment or housing? She can help with questions or problems. Yoga Yoga sessions are cancelled until Wednesday, Feb. 13. Please call 463-6382 for more information on any Watervliet Library activity.

Coloma Library News Pajama Storytime On Thursday, Feb. 7 at 6:30 p.m. the Coloma Public Library will host a pajama time story hour for families. Join Miss Ellen for a craft, story and activities. Kids (and their caregivers!) are encouraged to come dressed in pajamas and to bring their favorite stuffed friend. Registration is requested for this event. Call 468-3431 to register or if you have any questions. Read with Spirit Spirit, a certified therapy dog will be at the library on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Children may sign up for a 15-minute slot by stopping in at the front desk or calling the library at 468-3431. Reading to therapy dogs is a fun way for children to build reading confidence and fluency. Book Club The Coloma Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, Feb. 7 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “Everything Here is Beautiful” by Mira T. Lee. Generally, depending on demand there are titles available for check-out at the front desk. The book club is always looking for new members. Stop into the library or call 468-3431 for more information.

NEWS FROM THE COLOMA COURIER

100 years ago – 1919 The News-Palladium gave an endorsement for the erection of a Community Building. Last week Courier Editor F.W. Cochrun proposed this tribute for our local soldiers. Continued brick pavement work was approved at the recent council meeting. Paving begins at Krake’s corner east to Church Street, also north on Church to Center Street. 60 years ago – 1959 Winner of the “Mystery Name” is Mrs. Sylvester Hazen Jr. The prize was a Pyrex deluxe carafe and warming tray. Mrs. Hazen found all the letters in ads, arranged them for the desired answer and submitted: “Gust”. We remember those that have passed: Mrs. M. Dunning, John Cannaven, Allen J. Hennes and Mrs. A. Gagliardo. Mr. and Mrs. Harry R. Lifton will celebrate their golden wedding anniversary. The ladies auxiliary of the Lake Michigan Beach Association is holding a pot-luck dinner and surprise party at the club house. I wish to thank friends, relatives and teachers for the cards, gifts and calls I received during my hospital stay and home recovery. Jerry Strejc 30 years ago – 1989 The 1989 Miss Coloma Contest is on “Tap”. They will perform an exciting upbeat jazz routine that has been choreographed by the 1988 Miss Coloma, Kristina Nord. Miss Nord is a student of Pat Culver, owner of Patrice School of Dance. Jim Polashak and Joyce Tutton are chairmen for the contest. Siena Heights College has announced its Academic Achievement List. Michael Miller, Deborah Spoke and Wanda Durham all maintained a 3.5 grade point average or better. The Coloma Junior High Honor Club recently took a trip to Kalamazoo. They were guided through the Kalamazoo Aviation Museum by Mr. Vic Weir and Mr. Ted Blahnik. Both men are World War II veterans and former Coloma administrators. Submitted by volunteer Sandi Musick Munchow at Coloma Public Library from the Coloma Courier newspapers donated by the Tri-City Record. Hours: Mon & Fri, 10:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Tue, Wed & Thu, 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.; Sat, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Phone: 269-468-3431

NEWS FROM THE WATERVLIET RECORD

90 years ago – 1929 Miss Helen Parker, daughter of Rev. and Mrs. F.R. Parker was among a number of students at Olivet College to be initiated into the Sigma Beta Sorority in February 1929. On Feb. 16, 1929, Mr. and Mrs. John H. Pockett of North Watervliet celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They have two sons, two granddaughters and one grandson. 60 years ago – 1959 “Mike” Russell, who has been associated with Preston Sanders for the past five years, has opened his own body shop on North Main Street, in the rear of Nelson Auto Parts. Indiana & Michigan Electric Co. announced today that the Lewis Rexall Drug Store in Watervliet will become a collection office for the utility. Watervliet Cub Scout Pack 61 held their Christmas party, Dec. 15. The scouts brought ornaments to hang on a tree partially decorated by Mrs. Lyle Harrison’s Den 5. Mrs. Allen Retzlaff accompanied by Mrs. Arthur Hawks lead the Cubs in Christmas carols. Cubmaster Harry Parrot presented awards to Terry Timmons, Lowen Griffith, John Page, Mike Trelfa, David Rodewald, Roger Boyer, Richard Loomis, Jerry Winch, Ricky Beam, Tommy Crumb, Dennis Parker and Greg Blevins. Refreshments were served by Mrs. Ralph Crumb and Mrs. Myrlin Harper. 30 years ago – 1989 Tamara Crouch, daughter of Terry and Linda Crouch, is Watervliet’s “Student of the Week”. Tamara has been on the Honor Roll both marking periods. She is a very courteous member of the fourth grade and is currently serving as a Student Council Representative. Three students from Watervliet Junior High School have been named local winners in the 20th annual America & Me Essay Contest sponsored by Farm Bureau Ins. The three students, who earned the first, second and third-place awards are Brandi Arnt, first; Shana Sinnett, second; and David Morrical, third. Several thousand eighth-grade students from almost 500 Michigan schools participated in the 1988-89 contest. The topic of the contest was ‘My dream for America and how I will help make it come true’.

Submitted by Sally Q. Gonzalez from files at Watervliet District Library of the Watervliet Record newspapers donated by the Tri-City Record. Hours: Mon & Wed, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Tue, Thu & Fri, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Phone: 269-463-6382

Watervliet District Library to celebrate Black History Month with movie Black History Month, celebrated each February, offers a rich experience of history and culture. This year the Watervliet District Library provides the community with a helping of inspiration, thanks to the courage of the Freedom Riders, documented in the award winning PBS film of the same name. Directed by Stanley Nelson, the 2011 documentary chronicles the work of a small group of college students who risked everything to challenge segregation’s grip on the country, particularly in the south. Travel with dedicated Americans through a dangerous period in the country’s history as they helped to change the course of a nation, Monday, Feb. 4 at 6 p.m. Refreshments and discussion time, following the film. No registration is required. Anyone interested in attending is encouraged to contact the library at 269-463-6382 or info@wdlib.org.

Disability Network to hold Lunch & Learn event Disability Network Southwest Michigan is hosting a Lunch & Learn event on Wednesday, Feb. 27 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at their St. Joseph office located at 2900 Lakeview Avenue. This event will feature the documentary film “Intelligent Lives”, from award-winning filmmaker Dan Habib. A light lunch will be provided and participants will discuss issues from the film. “Intelligent Lives” invites viewers to rethink their assumptions about intellectual disabilities and consider new possibilities for the most systematically segregated people in America. The film highlights the lives of three young adults with intellectual disabilities who defy society’s perceptions of “intelligence” as they navigate high school, college, and the workforce. This event is free and open to the public; however, pre-registration is required by contacting Miranda Grunwell at grunwellm@dnswm.org or (269) 345-1516 x120. This is a fragrance-free environment; please do not wear scented products to this event.